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Elijah Burtner ready to pursue military training at West

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Elijah Burtner has taken his first steps forward into a long-awaited military career. 

The 2022 Somerset Area High School graduate left on Saturday for West Point, New York, and Monday he starts basic training as a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy. 

Burtner was one of 20 young Pennsylvanians who were appointed earlier this year by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey to the U.S. service academies. The students were also recognized at a June 15 breakfast hosted by Toomey in Washington, D.C.   

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“Each of these young adults exemplify tremendous academic success, leadership and character, and they stand out among their peers as selfless, committed Americans ready to serve their country,” Toomey said in his remarks to the group.  

“It’s a great honor to congratulate each of these bright leaders before they enter their respective academies.” 

Elijah Burtner, of Somerset, has been appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He starts basic training on June 27.

Burtner is the son of Chris and Kerri Burtner, of Somerset, and he has an older sister, Abby. 

The 17-year-old future cadet said the military appointment is a goal he’s been working towards since the ninth grade. 

“I always wanted to join the military,” he said. “Both my grandfathers served and other family members have (served as well). I found out in the ninth grade about West Point, and I’ve been preparing for it since.”